Richard “Dick” Alan Clauss
Richard Alan Clauss “Dick” passed away peacefully on September 28, 2018, with his wife by his side. He was born in his parents’ home at 102 S Packard St in Hammonton, New Jersey, on July 25, 1936, to Sam and Helen Clauss. He was the youngest of the 10 Clauss children. Dick grew up delivering papers while he was living on Packard Street, picking strawberries and blueberries on his sister Martha and Joe’s farm, packing peaches with brother Bob and making jam at Wood’s Cannery, singing in the All-State Sixth Grade Chorus and singing solos in many high school plays. He played the Trombone and Sousaphone from 7th – 12th grade in the band. Dick graduated from Hammonton High School in 1954.
After high school graduation, Dick joined the Air Force, completing basic training at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS. He then was stationed at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, AK. It was there that he met his first wife, Patricia Jean Weltzin “Pat”, a first-grade teacher at Denali Elementary School. They were engaged in the spring and married on June 23, 1957, at the First Presbyterian Church in Moscow, ID. Their honeymoon was spent driving the Alcan Highway back to their first home in Anchorage. Dick completed 4 years in the Air Force and was discharged in December 1957. They moved to San Jose, CA, where Dick studied at San Jose State University, while Pat substitute-taught. They welcomed a son, Scott Alan. In June 1961, Dick took his final exam on a Wednesday, welcomed his first daughter, Kathleen Diane, on Thursday, and graduated that Friday, with a BA in Education. In August, when little Kathy was only 2 months old, they loaded up a U-Haul and moved to Spokane, WA, where Dick and Pat had teaching positions with Spokane School District 81. Pat taught until their second daughter, Marcia Jean, was born. In their north Spokane neighborhood, Dick helped to build a neighborhood community pool, which the families enjoyed and continue to enjoy till this day.
Dick taught and coached at Westview Elementary, until he earned his MA in Elementary School Administration in 1965 from Eastern Washington University. He soon was promoted to Elementary School Principal, becoming the youngest District 81 Elementary School Principal. Over the next 27 years, he was principal of Comstock, Bryant, Hutton, Whitman and Mullan Road schools. Dick was recognized by the district as Staffer of the Year and Distinguished Principal for the State. He retired in June, 1993. Even after he retired, he was a substitute principal.
Dick also was on the Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington Planning and Management Council, and was on the Executive Board as the Planning and Management Council Chair.
Dick’s hobbies included gardening, traveling, camping, reading, antiquing, genealogy and preparing the Men’s Breakfasts at church. With Pat, they collected all kinds of “stuff”, such as Toby Jugs, Hummels, Silhouette Pictures and old children’s books. Dick was also an ordained Elder and Deacon, and enjoyed volunteering at church.
Pat passed away on March 6, 2009. But God had a plan to find another companion for him. Verla Mae Olson had lost her husband a couple years earlier. Pat and Clancy Olson were classmates in Moscow, and Dick and Verla had become acquaintances when attending the numerous class reunions. Dick attended the class reunion one more time after Pat’s death, and the rest is history. Dick and Verla Mae Olson were married on July 23, 2011. Dick moved from his home of 50 years to Verla’s home in Moscow ID, where he enjoyed working the “farm” and hosting many special events with Verla at their home, including many memorable Thanksgiving Dinners. Dick and Verla wanted to return to Spokane and in October, 2017, Dick purchased a home in the northwest area, close to his two daughters’ families.
Dick loved Pat and Verla with all his heart, his children and grandchildren, singing in the church choir, classical music, Broadway musicals and plays, walking with his retired principal friends, making soup for his family, Holidays with the family, attending his grandchildren’s sporting events, dance recitals, music programs and High School Graduations. He loved counting, numbers, and challenging his grandchildren with Math problems, and Minion, Rolly and Max.
Dick is preceded in death by his first wife, Patricia Jean, his father & mother, brothers Sam, Otis and Warren, sisters Helen and Margaret. He is survived by his wife of 7 years, Verla, his brother Bob, sisters Hilda, Freda, and Martha, sisters-in-law Sally and Kathy, son Scott (Therese) Clauss of Richland, daughters Kathy (Jim) Wiebers, and Marcy (Mike) O’Donnell, his grandchildren Heidi (Keaton), Hannah, Hunter, Andrew and Gabrielle, his step daughter Christy (Loel) Fenwick, step grandchildren Bjorn, Stuart (Amy), Hannah and Axel, and many nephews and nieces.
Memorial services will be Wednesday, October 10, 2018, at 1:00, First Presbyterian Church, 318 S. Cedar St. Spokane WA 99201. Private inurnment will take place at Greenwood Memorial Park. Memorial contributions are suggested to Hospice of Spokane, PO Box 2215, Spokane WA 99210 or Union Gospel Mission, 1224 E Trent Ave, Spokane WA 99202.
Please sign the online memorial book at www.hennesseyfuneralhomes.com
Hospice of Spokane
Union Gospel Mission
P O Box 4066, Spokane WA 99220